PREVIEW: ABN Annual Conference 2019

Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century. Affectionately nicknamed Auld Reekie, it is also described as the Athens of the North as a result of the Greek Revival buildings, including the Surgeon’s hall, with Castle Rock performing a similar role to the Acropolis.

Scotland is often viewed through the prism of the Scottish Enlightenment, though the first education Act of 1496 introduced compulsory education for the eldest sons of nobles, followed by the truly innovative Education act of 1696 providing for a school and a schoolmaster in every parish in Scotland. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the first medical school in the UK was founded in Edinburgh in 1726, and that Scottish medicine, not to mention associated body snatching has led the world, resulting in the 1832 Anatomy Act, as well as a pantheon of leading clinicians including Robert Whytt, Charles Bell and the Monro trio.

It is therefore fitting that British neurology pays homage to our history with a return visit of the ABN to Edinburgh. The venues are all easily accessible and within easy walking distance of Edinburgh Haymarket Station on the main line from The South.

The conference opens on Monday 20th May with the Foundation Doctor Session and the ABNT Registrar Training day, including a research workshop. We are also holding an Acute Neurology training day in association with the Society of Acute Medicine.

We are delighted to announce that Pam Shaw is the 2019 ABN Medallist, “Translational neuroscience to improve outcomes for motor neurone disease: the blessings and challenges of the journey”. On Tuesday 21 May, Charles Thornton from Rochester, New York Medicine will deliver the 25th Gordon Holmes lecture on prospects for developing treatment for myotonic dystrophy. David Burn, our President from 2019-2021 will deliver his President’s Lecture “Walking the wheel the wrong way”. In addition, Robin Ferner will deliver the Practical Neurology lecture on Thursday morning, on Harm from Medicine.

The Special Interest Groups will run sessions on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. This meeting’s SIGs include, Functional Disorders, Myasthenia Gravis, Neuroncology, Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis  and Neuroinflammation, and Headache. The SIG meetings offer an opportunity to hear updates in the field, to discuss interesting cases and meet with friends and future clinical and research collaborators.

The plenary sessions this year features Cells and Cellular Therapies: from bench to bedside, Epilepsy, Movement Disorders, Modern Dilemmas and “Pause for thought… What should I do now?” Once again there’ll be a CPC in which you can pit your wits against a tricky case, which will seem all too obvious once you have the answer.

2019 has yet again seen another record number of abstracts submitted, assisted by the early career researcher abstract bursary, and we will have six parallel platform sessions and two guided poster sessions in addition to the ever-popular case presentations competition.

The Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 22 May at 14:15. The Gala dinner will be held in the Stables at Prestonfield in a beautiful setting dominated by Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags to the east.

In addition, we have a fun run and a historic walking tour of Edinburgh. We hope you enjoy the meeting in this stunning setting.